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10 ways philanthropy teams innovated last year

Covid-19 related challenges drastically shifted the way hospital philanthropy teams functioned last year. Fundraisers not only needed to engage donors in a remote environment but also needed to fund critical priorities and step into different roles for their financially strained organizations. With their traditional donor engagement toolkit wiped out, many teams deployed new tactics.

At Advisory Board’s first ever Philanthropy Innovation Showcase, 13 development leaders revealed how they pivoted in a remote environment—and the risks they took along the way. Leaders pitched their top innovations to development professionals and Advisory Board staff. At the showcase’s culmination, participants evaluated innovations based on creativity, durability, and impact.

The top three innovations selected by 35 development professionals were the Norma Pfriem Breast Center’s Virtual Rose of Hope Event, Geisinger Health Foundation’s “Thanks to You” Virtual Series, and UR Medicine’s Virtual Reality Donor Engagement.

Read on to celebrate and learn about the full list of innovations from the Philanthropy Innovation Showcase below.


Top 10 innovations
  • Boulder Community Health Foundation | Covid-19 Response Fund
  • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health & Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth | Staff Hub
  • Geisinger Health System Foundation | “Thanks to You” Virtual Stewardship Events
  • Hebrew SeniorLife | Employee Earned Time Pool Donations
  • Hebrew SeniorLife | 3:1 Covid-19 Relief Match
  • Michigan Medicine | Well-Aware Webinar Series
  • Norma Pfriem Breast Center at Bridgeport Hospital | Rose of Hope Virtual Event
  • UR Medicine, Advancement | Virtual Reality Donor Engagement
  • Virginia Hospital Center Foundation | Medical Leadership Huddle Series
  • Wentworth-Douglass Hospital and Health Foundation | Seacoast Superhero Challenge

Keep on innovating and trying new ideas

As you read about the innovations your peers implemented in the last year, reflect on your own team’s bright spots and consider what new tactics you can carry forward in the year ahead.

Have an innovation of your own? Share it with us at

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